Wednesday, 6 June 2018

'How To Spot A Galaxy' Comic In Black Crown Quarterly #3 IDW

I'm so pleased to be able to show you my first, official, internationally published comic 'How To Spot A Galaxy' in Black Crown Quarterly #3 from Black Crown & IDW Publishing.

The comic is part of Black Crown's 'Hey Amateur!' series, a "how to do anything in nine panels" feature at the back of every issue of Black Crown Quarterly. There's been some amazing ones so far (I particularly liked learning how to do an ollie in issue 1!), and I chose to dig deep into my love of stargazing to teach people how to find constellations in the night sky!

The comic features two young gals out stargazing, and the older sister shows the younger girl how to find The North Star (Polaris!), the constellations of The Plough, Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Pegasus - and then how to find the Andromeda Galaxy!

I love space. Growing up one of my favourite books was a big non-fiction book on the universe, I've spent lots of nights out stargazing with my dad (the skies are ridiculously clear where my parents live), and I spent hours on a incredibly nerdy educational pc game finding constellations and galaxies (I really need to remember what that game's called! I think it was free with Encarta or something...).

I wanted to teach people something I was really excited about (and would work well visually in a comic) and so here we are! I love the process of using one constellation to help you find the next, so the comic lays out pointers to take each step, until on a clear night you're looking at a galaxy with over a TRILLION stars!

The illustrations are all a combination of hand-painted ink linework and digital colouring (aside from the space backgrounds, which are watercolour!). Let me know if you'd like to see a more detailed process rundown, and I'll show you the original linework pieces in a future post. So, not only is this my first internationally published comic, it's also the first time I've had a story I've written published! I've spent many years illustrating amazing writing by other authors and journalists (and I love it!), but it feels amazing to be out here writing and illustrating my own stories.

The entire comic is just brilliant. Punchy, exciting, gorgeously drawn stories - and I'm so pleased to be a part of it. Huge thanks to Shelly Bond for bringing me on board! Here's to more comics coming up. You can buy this comic on IDW Publishing's website, or in your local comic store!

See You Space Cowboy...

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Wes Anderson Exhibition To Celebrate The Release Of 'Isle of Dogs'

I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of a Wes Anderson themed exhibition to celebrate the release of his newest film 'Isle Of Dogs' in March. The exhibition, on display at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham, shows illustrator's interpretations of their favourite Wes Anderson films - so, it was a toughie, but I chose to create this Moonrise Kingdom themed print featuring the characters Sam and Suzy.

The exhibition is still on at The Electric Cinema and the box office has a limited run of prints available. So if you're in the area pop over (and take a look at the swish retro cinema as well!).

Speed Painting In Watercolour

Every so often, between commission work, I like to loosen up with quick speed-paintings and uninhibited doodles! I think it's a great tool to just break you out of that pressure and concentration that can come when working on really important client jobs.

I thought I'd capture one of these speed paintings on video for you on my YouTube channel, so you can see my process! Just a quick Kuretake watercolour portrait of someone imaginary. Enjoy!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Live Illustration At House Of Fraser for Mother's Day

So this post is a little overdue (it's been a very hectic and exciting few months!) but I wanted to finally show you some of the portraits I drew when I was booked for live illustration at House of Fraser Manchester last March!

The event was to celebrate Mother's Day, so shoppers could get their own bespoke live portrait (or portrait from a photo!) to take home when they bought a frame from the homeware department.

I had lots of young families having portraits painted for their mums, gifts for friends and even the fabulous Doris who was celebrating her 80th birthday that day and wanted a special portrait (how amazing is she?!).

I love creating live illustration instore, it's definitely hard work, but it's amazing to see how thrilled people are with their portraits, and brilliant to see a unique selling point for instore shopping!
I assigned 15 minutes to each portrait, and blocked it out into slots to make it manageable throughout the day (six hours of drawing is intense!). I love the challenge of drawing a sitter when they're right in front of me, it's a great opportunity to hear interesting stories, meet new people, and get in some good life drawing practice!

Huge thanks to LiL Collective for bringing me on board! Hopefully I'll have some new live illustration dates for you soon, or if you'd like a portrait yourself head to my family portrait Etsy listing!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Fixing Windows Pen Tool Pan Glitch For Photoshop

Hey everyone!

So the past few days have been pretty stressful, as after my Windows PC updated, my pen tool in Photoshop CC would constantly pan the page instead of drawing a line. With multiple book deadlines coming up, and Photoshop completely unusable for digital drawing, it wasn't exactly great timing!

I trawled the internet for apparent fixes, spoke to both Microsoft and Adobe, and found a huge amount of conflicting information on forums and help centres "add this file to this folder", "roll back the update" was a bog of information, so after some serious trawling, I wanted to share the way I fixed it in a few clear steps to help any other digital artists.

To fix the Window's Ink pen tool pan glitch for Photoshop:

1 - In your computer's search bar type the letters ' cmd '

2 - Right click on the 'Command Prompt' app and select 'Run As Administrator'

3 - On the black and white text input box type: 

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Pen /v LegacyPenInteractionModel /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

4 - Press Enter

5 - Test in Photoshop (it worked for me straight away), or restart your computer.

That should hopefully fix it! I'm finally back to illustrating, and I'm relieved to see I haven't lost pressure sensitivity with my pen (as some of the other fixes mentioned might happen). 

It is pretty disappointing to read Microsoft's statements on the issue, which seems to completely gloss over the fact that an awful lot of people use pen input as professional creatives and not just to pan around web pages...but hopefully with these fixes we'll all be back on track creating amazing digital artwork!

You can find this fix on Microsoft's answer page here.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Taking Part In Joanne Hawker's ' March Meet The Maker ' Project 2018

March was a busy month for me, lots of deadlines, lots of places to go - but I was thrilled to finally take part in Joanne Hawker's March Meet The Maker project on Instagram! Jo's a schoolfriend of mine, we grew up together and were berated by the same graphic design teacher for being silly together in class - so it's been amazing to see her project connecting so many creative people across the world who are just so passionate about making!

March Meet The Maker is basically a month of prompts for people (generally Etsy sellers) to reveal the person behind the products and let their followers know a little more about them, their creations, their passions and work environment! I took part in as many days as I could (it was a little tricky to do every day, especially with visits to Cornwall to see my Granny), and had such wonderful feedback.

It often feels easier for me to fill my Instagram feed with commissions, scrappy illustrations and prints, so it was quite a change for me to be like "Okay, here's my workspace! Here's how I create these images! Here's the park I love walking to on my break!" and get such insight into how so many other creatives go about their day to days.

It was brilliant to scroll through the hashtag and discover so many new talented creative people, and it really drove home the strength of the creative community. Here's to makers!

Hey! It's me! So I'm taking part in @joannehawker's #MarchMeetTheMaker for the first time. I barely ever post personal stuff, let alone pictures of myself, so I thought it was about time you guys got the chance to get to know me a little. I live in the North West of England (although I've lived in lots of different places); I'm a full-time illustrator and I love to draw and create worlds in my work; I'm always learning - recently I've been reading up/listening to podcasts about psychology, 18th century history and space. I'm also learning German! I love being in the woods; I can play the flute, glockenspiel and guitar; my favourite videogame right now is The Witcher 3; I volunteer to raise money for my local library; I suffer from anxiety; I'm writing a graphic novel and a picture book; it took me ages to find a photo to post; I love noticing small things and taking time to listen to people; and, um, I like roast potatoes. Maybe that's enough, but you can ask me anything! 💛 #meetthemaker #etsyseller #illustrator #artist #designer #comicartist #illustration #marchmeetthemaker2018
A post shared by Emmeline Pidgen (@emmelinedraws) on

You can see March Meet The Maker posts on Instagram with the hashtag #MarchMeetTheMaker, you can find my posts at @emmelinedraws, follow Jo @JoanneHawker, find out more about Jo's project at, and of course find me on Etsy at

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Illustrating 'My Anxiety Handbook'

I’m so thrilled to finally show you this very meaningful project I’ve been working on: 'My Anxiety Handbook'!

Written by psychologists Sue Knowles, Bridie Gallagher, and co-authored with Phoebe McEwen, the book guides young people aged 12-18 through their issues with anxiety in a warm and light-hearted way. I was so thrilled to have been asked to illustrate the book with relatable, character-based spot illustrations - especially as I have suffered from anxiety myself.

The book delves into the psychology behind anxiety, as well as promoting useful self-care steps, a journal section, and lots of really insightful personal experiences with anxiety written by a huge range of people – from young people at school, to England footballers, and, well, me!

It was incredibly nerve-wracking to fully share my experiences with anxiety or the first time, but it was therapeutic to write it all out, contained, and in such a safe and welcoming place as this book. It would definitely have been reassuring to read something like this when I was little, so I hope in sharing my experience I can help someone else.

The illustrations were lovely to draw. I’ve been doing a lot of work for school-aged children and young adults lately, and this book was a great chance to create a set of characters to reflect the fact that anxiety can affect anyone – no matter what they say, what they look like, or how they present themselves.

The spot illustrations were all created using brush and ink linework, with digital shading – keeping them simple, with a focus on relatability - presenting the text in an engaging and illuminating way! I was also asked to create hand-lettering for the journal section in the back, with titles guiding readers to note down their experiences and help unravel and identify the different strands of their anxiety!

It's a really special book, and it was an honour to work on it. If you fancy a copy you can pick it up online , in bookshops like Waterstones, or hopefully, in your local library!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Emmeline's Hourly Comic Day 2018

A post shared by Emmeline Pidgen (@emmelinedraws) on

Hourly Comic Day 2018 was last week, and yup, I'd forgotten what a toughie it is from last year (seriously, I had to take a day off afterwards to recuperate!) - but as with so many of the illustration challenges I set myself, it was incredibly rewarding!

Hourly Comic Day challenges creators to post one comic for each hour of their day, in real time, on February 1st. Think of it as a kind of diary comic, an insight into that artist's behind-the-scenes, and if you follow the hashtag #HourlyComicDay, a glimpse into the different lives of creators across the world. 

A post shared by Emmeline Pidgen (@emmelinedraws) on

I love it! Sure, you let yourself in for around 16-18 hours of almost constant drawing (or at least being "on it" thinking and preparing the next comic), but it's pretty cathartic to take that time to focus inwards on your life, what you like to draw, and your thought processes. Hey, it's even nice just to be able to look back at what on earth I did on a particular day too! 

Last year I collated my Hourly Comic Day strips into a book called 'Drawn Until Dusk', and I've had an incredible response to that through selling it at comic festivals up and down the country, as well as through my Etsy shop. This year I wanted to introduce a bit of colour (yup, I like to make things incrementally harder for myself) and roll with a slightly sketchier, looser style. 

This time I was drawing directly on-screen, rather than via a graphics tablet, and my god did my hands thank me for it (you might remember the Wacom-claw panel from last year?). With my new-found portability I actually managed to get out and about to draw the comics this time, and set-up shop in a local café or nestled on my sofa instead of just sticking to my desk. 

It's really interesting seeing how the comics turned out, I don't know if other artists do, but I certainly didn't have any kind of plan of what the comics would be like, or even what I'd do on the day content-wise. I kind of like that spontaneity, and that risk that every panel might just be me sat at my computer forced me to get out of the box, and, well, the house, and brought forth new ideas.

A post shared by Emmeline Pidgen (@emmelinedraws) on

A lot of the comics seem to feature odd little moments between me and my partner, or small introspections. I love seeing that what ended up being in the comics is such a reflection on my world and my personality - I guess that makes sense, I was constantly focusing on the small moments I noticed throughout my day. It's been lovely to hear how relatable and honest people have found these. 

Trees and nature also seem to feature heavily! I think that's mostly down to the fact I spend so much of my time wandering through nearby parks and forests, and they're definitely one of my favourite things to draw! Okay, yes, trees are pretty easy to draw quickly (and that provided some relief!), but it was great to be able to indulge myself in experimenting with really simple mark making and colour to bring a sense of atmosphere and environment. I'm usually pretty perfectionist, so it was kind of liberating to be forced to let go of that through facing thirteen one-hour deadlines throughout the day!

Thanks so much to everyone who liked, commented, re-posted and sent me messages of support on the day - especially from the other artists taking part (seriously, go and look through the hashtag, there's so many amazing threads!). You can find my full series on the Twitter thread, or on Instagram!

So, today, I'm working a exciting new comic project - so, if you liked what I did in one day, I can't wait to show you this! 💕